Watchman (Henri) Nee
God’s Dynamic Salvation Work
From the evening I was saved, I began to live a new life, for the life of the eternal God had entered into me.Beginning in the sixteenth century, Protestant missionaries went to China for the gospel, but in the opening years of the twentieth century, following years of faithful labor and prayer, the Lord’s move in China began to advance dramatically after the martyrdom of many Christians in the Boxer Rebellion. In the 1920s, many believers, who were raised up by the Lord from among high-school and college students throughout China, became instrumental in the spread of the gospel. From among these students, Nee Shu-tsu (Watchman Nee) was called and equipped by the Lord for His work.
Nee Shu-tsu, whose English name was Henry Nee, was born of second-generation Christian parents in Foochow, China in 1903. His paternal grandfather studied at the American Congregational College in Foochow and became the first Chinese pastor among the Congregationalists in northern Fukien province. Nee Shu-tsu was consecrated to the Lord before his birth. Desiring a son, his mother had prayed to the Lord, saying, “If I have a boy, I will present him to You.” The Lord answered her prayer with the birth of a son. His father later impressed this point upon him, saying, “Before you were born, your mother promised to present you to the Lord.”
Equipping and TrainingWatchman Nee did not attend theological schools or Bible institutes. His wealth of knowledge concerning God’s purpose, Christ, the Spirit, and the church was acquired through studying the Bible, reading spiritual books, and pursuing spiritual matters. Watchman Nee received revelation through his diligent study of the Word. Many of his practices are included in his book How to Study the Bible. He also read the spiritual books of many of the Lord’s servants throughout church history. In the early days of his ministry, he spent a third of his income on his personal needs, a third on helping others, and the remaining third on spiritual books. He acquired a collection of more than three thousand of the best Christian books, including nearly all the classical Christian writings from the first century forward. He had a phenomenal ability to select, comprehend, discern, and memorize relevant material, and he could quickly grasp and retain the main points of a book. Thus, he was able to glean from these books the important scriptural truths and spiritual principles that the Lord has made known throughout church history and also to incorporate them into his Christian life and church life experience.